Monday, May 30, 2011

Summer. Or, That Time of Year School is Closed

We are in Normandy this week, enjoying the half term holiday. Yes, another holiday! While the English summer break may be short (only six weeks) they make up for it with Half Terms and Inset Days. And apparently there are about 24 half terms holidays per year, and approximately 237 inset days, so pretty much M goes to school on September 16th, January 20th, May 7th and that's it.

Because I haven't been working this past year, I've been able to enjoy some extended time in France with the kids and often with Husband, who gets the standard European five weeks of vacation. But I get the feeling we won't all be able to take six weeks off this summer, so I'll have to come up with something else to keep M entertained. Art class? Check. Sports camp? Check? Take her to DC and get her grandparents to keep her occupied? CHECKITY CHECK.

It's funny how school vacations conjure up very different sentiments once you are a stay-at-home parent. As a kid, you look forward to that last day of school before a summer break, thinking of all the freedom you will have, the sunshine and lack of homework. Long, lazy days stretch ahead! As a parent, you also think about those long, lazy days, but it isn't quite as nice a feeling. So you say they aren't in school for six weeks? That's 42 days. 1008 hours. If I spend an hour a day at the playground *pulls at collar*, that only leaves me with 966 hours left to entertain her! *wipes sweat from brow.*  Is five too young for overnight camp?

And in thinking about going back to work (yes, please!) I sort of forgot about all the time off she gets. We have always gone the daycare route, and when both kids were preschool-aged this worked fine. Once you have a child in school (and one toddler), the schedule is harder to juggle unless you have a full time nanny, which is expensive. There are multiple drop-off points, and school days start at 9 am and end at 3:15 pm, so if you are commuting you will need to find both early morning and late afternoon childcare. We really want to keep O involved in some sort of day care/preschool, but the juggling act is overwhelming to think about. So I'm not! I'm putting it off! And since I don't have a 100% sure job yet, that's fine. Besides, there's still that long, lazy summer to panic about enjoy. 

In the meantime, it's Half Term, and today's Holiday Child Entertainment was a trip to the Parc Zoologique de Cleres. (If you are ever in Normandy, I highly recommend it. Not only is it a beautiful botanic garden, but they also have an interesting variety of animals, many of which are endangered and are being raised as part of a conservation program.) You can wander freely among flamingos, peacocks, wallabies, and deer.

Both kids had a great time, until the end of the visit when M realized that they only had "boring animals." Apparently, being 10 feet from a hopping wallaby is not enough of a thrill, and she was hoping for free-roaming tigers or lions or something. This does bode well for art camp. Maybe I can find an alligator wrestling class she'd enjoy.

OK then! I've been trying to think of a good finish to this post, but I slammed my own thumb in the car door about a hour ago so I feel like I have a good excuse to just leave it at alligator wrestling. (Seriously, OW. The nail is PURPLE. Also, WTF? How did I even do that?) So yeah, the space bar is my enemy right now, and there is a large glass of wine in the kitchen with my name on it. It's medicinal.


  1. Lovin everything you write. You'll have a novel of vignettes pretty soon. Can't help feeling just a little proud. Mara and I used to show up regularly at baby Caroline's doorstep and ask to help feed you.

  2. I think your new job should be compiling all your posts and writing a book. You're a natural! I taught you well. I can commiserate with your finger, I was running for the phone, tripped over my giant shoe in the hallway and could swear I broke my toe. Michele G